Brotherly Love
The Commons Brewery

Brotherly LoveBrotherly Love
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Belgian Strong Dark Ale
3.91 | pDev: 13.3%
The Commons Brewery
Oregon, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Brotherly LoveBrotherly Love
Notes: Brotherly Love is our Belgian Dark Strong Ale, Little Brother, aged in second-use Bourbon barrels with Northwest grown sour cherries and Ecuadorian cacao nibs roasted by Woodblock Chocolate in SE Portland.
Reviews: 13 | Ratings: 74 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by Beaver13:
Photo of Beaver13
3.62/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle. Pours dark amber with a big fizzy light tan head that retains well and leaves little lacing.

The aroma is sweet bourbon and chocolate with some cherry, dark fruits and cinnamon.

The flavor is sweet chocolate malts with some acidic and tart cherry and some chalky boozy bourbon in the finish. Some cinnamon comes out as it warms. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with slightly sharp carbonation.

Overall, an OK big beer. A bit too sweet and boozy with chalky acidic notes.

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Beaver13 from Colorado, Sep 21, 2014
More User Reviews:
Photo of paleoplant
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

paleoplant from New York, Apr 27, 2014
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.77/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle: Poured a dark burgundy color ale with a large off-white foamy head with light retention. Aroma of sweet dry fruits, with some light chocolate notes and some bourbon/vanilla notes. Taste is a complex mix of chocolate, sweet dry fruits notes, light molasses, some residual sugar notes and some bourbon and vanilla notes. Body is about average with good carbonation with no apparent alcohol. Intriguing experiment with great flavours but lacking some cohesion.

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Phyl21ca from Quebec (Canada), Oct 26, 2015
Photo of Derek
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

Derek from British Columbia (Canada), Jul 27, 2014
Photo of Gmann
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a cola like brown color with a small to non-existence khaki head. Settles into nothingness.

The aroma is of dark fruit, mainly raisins. The bourbon is noticeable with nice caramel and vanilla. Some hints of oak as well. Not much from the yeast.

The taste is of a sweet malt, dark candi sugar, and dark fruit. The bourbon works well but is subtle. The sour cherry in the end is nice. The cocoa nibs provide some needed depth.

Moderate feel with fizzy carbonation. Quite sweet on the palate but not cloying. It walks the edge but holds one. Slight sour in the finish.

Solid beer but not great. I would like to see more BSDA characteristics. Needs more depth there.

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Gmann from New York, Apr 19, 2014
Photo of metter98
3.87/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is close to being black in color—slight traces of reddish brown are visible near the bottom of the glass when it is held up to a bright light. It poured with a quarter finger high beige head that only died down a little and consistently left a short head covering the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light aromas of dark fruits and bourbon are present in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell, but the bourbon flavors are much stronger and linger through the finish. Except for the bourbon, no traces of alcohol are noticeable.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer might not be a bad selection if you like bourbon, but it seems like there is too much bourbon in the taste so that it overpowers the flavors of the dark fruits.

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metter98 from New York, Apr 07, 2014
Photo of drewone
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

drewone from California, Jun 01, 2014
Photo of davegray
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

davegray from California, Jun 11, 2014
Photo of sneaks2210
4/5  rDev +2.3%

sneaks2210 from New York, May 24, 2014
Photo of charlzm
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

charlzm from California, Apr 10, 2015
Photo of nmann08
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

nmann08 from Virginia, Aug 07, 2014
Photo of JAHMUR
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

JAHMUR from Connecticut, Jun 25, 2014
Photo of Sarlacc83
3.35/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

750mL from the brewery via cavemanlawyer

A: Red clay color with a very foamy creme head. Has some sticky legs and looks alright.

N: Sour cherries over a malty base. I get a hint of bittersweet chocolate, but the cherry is mostly overpowering everything else in this bottle. There’s a hint of leather, some caramel and toffee, and some of the Belgian ester.s.

T: Baker’s chocolate bitterness and a hint of tartness. Sweetness spreads around the tongue, but it’s a third player. Yeast shows throughout.

M: Chalky with a sharply carbonated and medium mouthfeel. Alcohol shows briefly.

O: Reminds me a lot of Three Philosophers, a beer of which I’m not a fan. This isn’t as complex, bready or yeasty as I want. Needs more density.

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Sarlacc83 from Oregon, Apr 27, 2013
Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

spycow from Illinois, Oct 11, 2014
Photo of wethorseblanket
3.78/5  rDev -3.3%

Reviewed from notes. 750ml bottle shared by Andrew - thanks.

A: Pours a dark brown with crimson highlights under a 1/4" thick off-white head which fades to the rim quickly and leaves spots of lace.

N: Polished wood, meaty, tart dark cherries, chocolate, very faint bourbon.

T: Good balance between chocolate/cocoa, dark cherries, tartness, Belgian yeasty esters.

M: Moderate body and medium carbonation. Finishes mildly tart, chocolate, and yeast.

O: Good, but not something I'd seek out.

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wethorseblanket from California, Aug 31, 2014
Photo of GRG1313
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

GRG1313 from California, Mar 03, 2015
Photo of slimntubbs
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

slimntubbs from Pennsylvania, Mar 29, 2014
Photo of Rifugium
2.5/5  rDev -36.1%

Rifugium from North Dakota, Jun 25, 2014
Photo of artoolemomo
3.99/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pours up a good amount of head which appears to have fairly good retention as well. The head is a light and creamy beige while the body is a dark, chocolate brown that shows hints of burgundy and crimson in the light. Spots of lacing.

Nose- Lacks presence but does have a good amount of complexity. Started with some cloves and banana and then shows some raisins and slight apple. Rounded chocolate around the edges. Some spice, mostly cinnamon. Some plums, cocoa, maybe even a little brown bread, molasses, and brown sugar. Some cherry, minor heat. Light notes of bourbon. A good start and I won't mind if the palate is as subtle as the nose because I like all these aromas.

Taste- Starts off with raisins, cherries, and plums while the bourbon notes show themselves quite quickly. Some chocolate in the background. Substantial notes of oak from the bourbon. This certainly doesn't have the problem that Little Brother has; you can't help but notice the bourbon. Makes it seem boozy though there isn't much real heat present. Some notes of lemon and orange. Cherries and chocolate are lighter than the label would suggest but they are there and they do produce a nice subtle background. This is not an in-your-face beer as even the bourbon notes start to mellow and I do not think it's trying to be that type of beer. You have to take it for what it is- a nice, subtle beer. I would say that it is between good and really good at the moment. Banana and cloves start to show up on the finish along with some cinnamon. This beer does seem to confirm that BSDAs and Quads don't really take to barrel aging as some other styles might. Still an enjoyable beer. Lacking somewhat in presence but has good balance and integration other than the slightly messy booze note of the bourbon. Fairly complex but subtle. A good offering from the Commons but not the wow beer that I've been waiting for from them. Some caramel, slight vanilla. As it opens up, I really appreciate the mild nature that may make this just a really good beer instead of maybe just a good one.

Mouthfeel- Medium to heavy bodied with mild carbonation that gives this a bit of smoothness. Somewhat of a dry finish. Slight syrup to vinous texture.

Drinkability- Fairly easygoing and pretty accessible for a barrel aged BSDA. Price of 11 bucks seems pretty reasonable for a barrel aged quad. I will probably buy next year's.

Overall- Good, solid beer to really good beer but closer to really good. Doesn't amaze but this beer isn't about that- it's more about subtlety and approachability. I imagine this beer pairs well with many foods, especially chocolate. I only wish there were more chocolate and cherries in the actual beer. Definitely worth a try and while I won't be grabbing any more of this year's, I will grab a 2015.

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Photo of hoerr
4.75/5  rDev +21.5%

hoerr from South Carolina, Jul 18, 2014
Photo of teddyarrowhead
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of AlexFields
2.5/5  rDev -36.1%

AlexFields from Tennessee, Jul 05, 2013
Photo of Rick778
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Rick778 from California, May 04, 2014
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.94/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to AndrewK for sharing this one at Wowcoolman's tasting.

Pours a murky dark orange with a foamy tan head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is sour and tart with malt, cherry, and slight cocoa aromas. Taste is much the same with cherry and bourbon flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of woody bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty and easy to drink.

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UCLABrewN84 from California, Apr 24, 2013
Photo of spinrsx
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

spinrsx from Ontario (Canada), Oct 17, 2015
Brotherly Love from The Commons Brewery
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 74 ratings